Small plates restaurant and lounge opening in mid-May will create
an interactive and sophisticated culinary experience
Napa, Calif. (April 24, 2013) – Empire, a contemporary small plates restaurant and lounge located in downtown Napa, will open its doors to guests mid-May. A vibrant gathering place with an interactive small plate menu and strong focus on artisanal cocktails and fine wines, Empire showcases the trademark Napa charm with a cosmopolitan sophistication and will be open late night.
Under the direction of culinary partner Jennifer Petrusky, Empire’s menu will center on high quality, fresh ingredients and interactive small plate presentations showcasing variety and a sense of playfulness.
Signature items comprise of Eggplant Crustini, Chile, Shallot, Basil and Pomegranate; Lamb Belly, Moroccan BBQ Sauce and Pickled Cabbage; and Prawns, Coconut, Thai Basil, Sprouts and Scallions. Guests will also have the option for a “Do-It-Yourself Mashed Potato” with seasonal accompaniments.
To complement Empire’s culinary menu, beverage director Caitlin Laman has created a beverage program with a strong emphasis on artisanal cocktails, representing both classic and original recipes. From hand-cut ice to freshly squeezed juices, bitters and the best spirits, Empire relies on top ingredients and technique without the pretense. Cocktail carts will be a signature element as the action and charm behind the bar is brought table side to guests.
Bourbon will be other key element of Empire’s beverage menu. A custom barrel program will feature a hand picked 12-year old bourbon from Elijah Craig which will carry a designation of Empire Napa Valley 2013.
A few signature cocktails will include the Ukiah Sour made with Mi Casa Blanco Tequila, Lavender Syrup and Bergamot Bitters; and the Overland Manhattan made with the Empire Elijah Craig 12-year, Vermouth Perruchi Blanc, Amaro Montanegro and Underberg Bitters.
Replacing the traditional wine list with a rotating wine board, Empire’s wine list will showcase the region’s best winemakers in the same fashion one would find in their respective tasting rooms with detailed tasting notes and other information that takes the guest “behind the label.” Additional wines from outside the region and a reserve list with wines from private collections balance out the selections offered by the bottle or glass.
Continuing with crafting interactive experiences, Empire has created the Wine Board and Winemaker Series, focusing on discovering new flavors and connecting with the community. Local winemaker tastings and panels will take guests “behind the label” for the inside story on current wines. The program will also feature release parties and public tastings.
In addition to the series, Empire will present a regular schedule of events, including beverage features on a daily basis, winemaker visits on weekends, monthly cocktail classes and demonstrations and quarterly culinary events featuring Chef Petrusky. Friday and Saturday nights will showcase the Bay Area’s hottest DJs while Sundays will be dedicated to service industry nights.
Named after the first commercial building constructed in Napa County, Empire also references the cosmopolitan hub New York City in the “Empire State.” Designed by renowned Bay Area designer Michael Brennan, Empire’s décor injects an urban sophistication with notes of federal architecture and art deco. The design is balanced with whimsical references to the old-fashioned western saloon and features deep wood and quarried stone, hallmarks of Napa’s warmth and native personality.
Owners Arthur Prieston and Nick Rimedio have created a vision for Empire based on their deep-rooted memories of family culinary celebrations and their shared passion for food and wine. Prieston brings a celebrated history of hospitality investments, including the reorganization of Wildfox restaurant in Novato, Calif., restoring it to the number one grossing restaurant in the area. He is also a partner in the renowned restaurants Perbacco and Barbacco in San Francisco. With more than 15 years of comprehensive experience in restaurants and hotels, Rimedio has worked under Charlie Trotter and created his own consulting group, which took him to the hotel properties L’Ermitage Beverly Hills and Viceroy Anguilla. Their experiences have resulted in establishing a synergy between culinary and service teams in one collective pursuit of creating memorable experiences.
Culinary partner Jennifer Petrusky has apprenticed under Charlie Trotter at numerous food events and chef demonstrations across the world such as the Singapore Sun Festival, The Rheingau Gourmet & Wine Festival and Gourmet Abu Dhabi. She competed twice nationally as the only female chef Bocuse d’Or USA Culinary Competition, winning the “Best Fish Platter” in 2010. Petrusky opened the critically acclaimed Yusho, helping it win accolades from the James Beard Foundation.
Beverage director Caitlin Laman began her career at Andre Balazs’ hotels in New York City and later continued at Sunset Beach in Long Island before moving across the country to San Francisco in 2009 to explore the cocktail scene in the Bay Area. She was recruited to join the team at Lafitte and later Southern Pacific Smokehouse in Marin.
“We are excited to bring Empire to downtown Napa,” said Rimedio. “Empire is a place to come and unwind with friends and family and our late night lounge is the perfect spot on the weekends to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.”
Prieston added, “Empire is all about interaction, from the small plate presentation to the Wine Board and Winemaker Series, giving our guests a culinary experience not found anywhere else. We look forward to welcoming you in.”
Located at 1400 First Street in downtown Napa, Empire will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 5 p.m. -12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 831.233.8421. Empire is also available for private events, accommodating up to 120 guests for both lunch and dinner events seven days a week.
Empire is an evening experience of Napa dining and crafted cocktails located in downtown Napa. A vibrant gathering place with an interactive small plate menu and strong focus on artisanal cocktails, fine wines and micro-brewed beers, Empire showcases the trademark Napa charm with a cosmopolitan sophistication. The menu centers on high quality, fresh ingredients and interactive small plate presentations showcasing variety and a sense of playfulness, while the beverage program features artisanal cocktails, custom barrel program and ever-evolving wine list. The Wine Board and Winemaker Series focuses on discovering new flavors and connecting with the community, taking guests “behind the label” with local winemakers. For additional information, visit empirenapa.com, follow on Twitter @empirenapa #empirenapa and interact on Facebook at facebook.com/empirenapa.com.